The latest guest on New England Soccer Journal’s “The Goal” podcast is the head coach of the Vermont men’s soccer team, Rob Dow.
Dow will enter his sixth season as Vermont’s head coach this fall. He’s coming off a campaign in which the Catamounts won the America East Conference tournament and played in the NCAA tournament. They finished 13-5-2.
Dow had been an associate head coach at Vermont for two years before becoming the head coach, and was an assistant at Southern New Hampshire University before that. He was also head coach at Dean College in Franklin, Mass., for two seasons.
Dow played soccer for Maine and twice led the Black Bears in scoring. He joins host Matt Langone to discuss soccer in Vermont and the America East and how he recruits in New England.
The full podcast can be accessed below and is available on all major platforms. If you enjoy it, please leave a rating and a review.
On Vermont’s rivalry with New Hampshire
I would highly recommend anyone in this region in the media world to cover that game. There’s a lot in that game. Friendships on both teams. They play against each other or with each other in the summertime, like Seacoast United. I’ve got a ton of respect for what they’ve accomplished. They certainly make the conference better every year. (UNH coach) Marc (Hubbard) and I worked together at Southern New Hampshire University. We played together for the New Hampshire Phantoms. We played against each other when we were in college. We know each other really well. But on the field, on game day, it’s competitive. Like you kind of think, are we really friends, you know? (Laughs) We always come back to a really good communication. So it’s a rivalry, you know? No doubt about it. And it’s one we circle every year.
On the motto he wants his Vermont team to have:
I wanted to make it really clear that every year you have a different team. You can’t lean on the exact formula you had the previous year. And that’s harder to understand than you think. So last year we had certainly had a motto: doing the right things when no one no one’s around. And we had a symbol of pounding the rock. We could exemplify when someone made a 60-yard defensive tracking back run and can really see it on film, but we caught it live, you know, we would exemplify that. And that’s something that’s under-celebrated, but that makes an impact even if you don’t see it. So we’re certainly going to build off that. But raising the bar, like our expectations for this group, the potential which they have… I almost think they don’t see it enough. And they need to have the confidence that going into the game, no matter what, we’re exercised in our process. We’re a process-based team. We’re going to, win or lose on Saturday, show up on Monday, have a full workload to prep for the next week. And we can’t look back or we can’t look forward. We’ve got to be in the now. If we can do that, that’s something we can collectively buy into, you know, come watch the games.
On recruiting New England players:
New England is our number one target. I want to be clear that I think you can see that in our rosters over the last five years. I looked, probably a couple of years back — I felt like we had close to the most amount of New England in Division 1 soccer programs on our roster. So we are scouring every state in this region. .. It’s important to me, there’s a lot of different aspects of why it’s important to me, but most of all — playing in their region means more to them. They know the rivalries. They know Vermont. They really respect it. We retain those kids really well. And by dominating this region, they’re passionate about it. So if I can find more and more top talents in this region to continue to carry that .. we are going to continue to do that for the long run.
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